25 Tips To Start The Year


Make an early determination about how you will handle students with special health problems. Consult with your school nurse for suggestions. Some students might have a health plan, which your school nurse will contact you about. If asked to perform health related tasks, consult your site representative immediately.


CUEA Retired Offers Scholarship To College Teacher Candidates
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Teams Continue Negotiations On September 30. More Meetings Scheduled.
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CalSTRS "Retirement Checkup" Workshop Slated For October 14. Sign Up Now!
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HomeAbout CUEAExecutive BoardRep CouncilMember ChangesPrivacyLocationAdvertisingContact

Capistrano Unified Education Association

27422 Aliso Creek Road, Suite 100

Aliso Viejo, CA 92656


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We Want Your Feedback





CUSD is reviewing current and future facilities needs for improvement and enhancement.  The District wants community input from residents, parents, teachers, students, and other interested parties within the District boundaries.  Many of you have expressed concerns regarding facilities, and you all qualify for involvement in this committee under several categories.  Please consider joining this effort!


The committee will meet once a week on Thursdays for four weeks beginning October 15, 2015, and concluding on November 5, 2015.  The three-hour meetings will run from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the District Office.  The committee will focus on the status and needs of various campuses and classrooms, as well as address the funding challenges.  Recommendations will go from this committee to the CUSD Trustees.


To join this important committee, you can either sign up by clicking here or email the District at communitycommittee@capousd.orgPotential volunteers are asked to submit their name, phone number and email address no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 30, 2015.


Payroll Check Image





Your first paycheck of 2015-16 will be coming next week. Please remember to check the paystub to make sure you are receiving the correct salary (on the correct step) and for correct deductions. Recently a member asked when we would see that “year we lost” restored. The reference was to a negotiated settlement in which we were able to compact our salary schedule down to 23 steps from 24 steps to reach the maximum salary. This happened in 2006-07 for the 2006-08 contract, and has caused a tremendous amount of misunderstanding since. So we thought an explanation was timely, as this is typically the time of year that these questions come up.


The goal of a bargaining unit is to earn the top salary as soon as possible. Members used to ask us to “add steps” to the schedule, because they thought that would be an improvement. Actually, the fewer steps it takes to reach maximum the better, because it impacts and enhances your retirement benefit. Some districts with greater maximum salaries require 30 years of service to get there. So, when we bargained to compact to 23 steps, it was a real win, and we were applauded by surrounding district bargaining teams at the time.


So, how did this affect you? You did NOT lose a year. If you started with the district after this was bargained, your years of service correlates to the name of your salary step. But if you were employed prior to that year, your salary step no longer reflects your years of service. For example, if you have worked for the district for 18 years, you are on salary step 17 (the old 18), but your district years of service is 18; if you have worked for the district for 24 years, you are on step 23 (the old 24). What happened was the steps received, in essence, new names. You did not lose a year – your step was just renamed. 


If you hired into CUSD before the change in 2006-07, you are still receiving the maximum salary in 24 years (as it was when you hired in). But if you have been hired since, you will receive your maximum salary in only 23 years. It benefitted the district and our new members as a hiring tool going forward from 2006-07. It did not change anything for the rest of us.



Changes To Standard Disability Insurance

Standard LogoPlan premiums of the Voluntary Disability Insurance, offered through The Standard Insurance Company, will be modified starting September 1, 2015. Over the last decade, CTA members’ salaries have increased while the plan’s salary band and corresponding premiums have not changed. Currently, the highest salary band caps at $67,250+. Participants making $67,250 pay the same as those making $85,000. However, benefits are based on actual earned salary, so participants who pay premiums based on a $67,250 salary but are earning $85,000 are receiving a benefit that is not supported by the premiums. This contributes to a shortfall in premiums and a substantial subsidy by some participants.


To continue to provide high-quality income protection to all CTA members, the salary bands are being modified. This aligns premiums with benefits that are provided by the plan. Two modifications are being made: (1) One premium band for salaries under $44,500, and (2) six new salary bands for members who earn $76,250 and above.


This modification will allow The Standard to continue to provide benefits that so many members depend on (up to 75% income replacement) at premium rates that are among the most competitive in the country. Members who earn between $36,750 and $76,249 in annual salary will have no adjustments to premiums. Members outside of that range will see a premium adjustment and will receive a notification explaining the change. 


If you have any questions,
please call the CTA Customer Service Dept. at 1-800-522-0406
from 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time
or email:




Beginning Of The Year Contract Reminders

Credit for Summer Classes
If you have taken summer classes for salary credit, you must submit transcripts to the CUSD Personnel Department no later than October 31.  CUEA suggests you get the paperwork in much earlier.

Kindergarten Reminder
Kindergarten teachers have priority when signing up for the computer lab and library on ACE days.

Elementary Combo Classes
Three/four combo teachers receive the same release time as 4th grade teachers, 80 minutes of block music release per week; also K/1 teachers receive the same daily morning duty-free release time as teachers with straight Kindergarten classes. Click here for a copy of the recommendations made for forming combo classes.


High School Late Start Days

When putting together the Late Start schedule for the high school 2013/14 school year, it is important that teachers and administration follow the CUEA/CUSD Contract. Article 5.8.3 states that "Late Start days at the high school level shall be scheduled with the input and approval of the staff. The frequency, duration, and usage for Late Start days shall be voted on by a secret ballot by a majority of the staff members at each respective school. And Article 5.8.4 states that "Faculty meetings shall be no longer than one hour in length and conducted no more than once a month. Faculty meetings for the month will occur on an ACE/Late Start day.

This means that teachers must be involved in deciding not only how many Late Start days will be scheduled, but how those days will be used as well. Besides the faculty meeting, other choices Late Start days may include the following: department meeting; staff development; collaboration meetings; independent planning time; and meetings dedicated to the WASC process. For reference, high school teachers may want to refer to Article 5.8.2 which describes the rotation for ACE days (late start) at the middle school: one staff meeting a month, two grade level or department level or staff development days per month; and one "teacher preparation day per month.

With school closing a week earlier than usual, CUEA suggests that the secret ballot voting be completed prior to the Memorial Day holiday.

Sub Coverage Pay For All Teachers

District office has been releasing teachers for the past few months to attend trainings and meetings which has resulted in a shortage of subs for teachers who are absent on any given day. This means that teachers are being asked to cover each other classes during the school day.

As per Article 5.13 of the CUEA/CUSD Contract, all teachers, elementary and secondary, music and special ed teachers, get paid $35 an hour to cover a colleagues class if the substitute does not show up, or for as long as it takes for the sub to arrive if the instructional day has already started. Additionally, if students from the absent teacher are sent to other teachers classrooms, those teachers also receive $35 an hour as well.

This contract provision is not new, so if you have been covering classes anytime this year, or taking students from another class, without getting paid, notify your principal immediately so the proper paperwork can be completed - this includes RSP teachers.

Report Card Comments

It has been agreed by both the district and CUEA that elementary teachers are responsible for their own comments on report cards. Therefore, principals should not be asking teachers to submit comments for review, prior to sending to parents. However, principals may access report cards at anytime anyway.

Additionally, teachers need to remember that because the Standards Based Report Card is so specific to each standard, teachers should not need to make many additional comments unless a grade needs to be documented.

Contract Close Up: Elementary ACE Calendars

New Elementary ACE Calendars are now available to principals and leadership teams.  The newly revised Elementary ACE Calendars include a "tracking chart which allows a school to count up the number of  Independent Planning Days; Non-ACE days (like parent conferences); and the combined number of staff/grade level/staff development days per year.

The number of ACE days vary this year dependent upon the day of the week. Schools with Tuesday ACE have 33 ACE days for the 2011/12 school year and should reflect a 16/17 split between Independent Planning and staff/grade level/staff development.  Schools on Wednesday and Thursday ACE have at total of 35 ACE days and should reflect a 17/18 split between Independent Planning and staff/grade level/staff development days.  Since the number of ACE days is uneven, the split should reverse every other year

Personal Necessity Days
Did You Know There Are 10?

One of the major contract changes effective in 2012-13 is the addition of 3 more Personal Necessity days ("PN Days"), for a total of 10 days. This means all ten (10) of your allotted sick days per year can be used for personal necessity reasons. Keep in mind, you still must tell your principal in advance of the need to take a Personal Necessity day. Also, see the line item below about "No-Tell" days.

Five "No-Tell" Personal
Necessity Days

New contract language was  adopted last spring allowing for three (5) "No Tell" days. Refer to Article 10.3.3 in the CUEA/CUSD Contract now online at the CUEA website. There is no restriction  as to when those days may taken. Keep in mind that these 5 days are part of the 10 PN days allowed per year as enumerated in Article 10.3.

What To Do About Jury Duty

If you are called for jury duty, you have the option to either serve when called, or postpone your service to a non-working day during winter or spring break or the summer vacation months.

If you choose to postpone and serve on your "own time," the district will pay you the same amount they would have paid a regular subsitute. In order to receive the substitute pay, you must submit a copy of the original summons, the notification of postponement of service, and the dated proof of jury service.

If you decide to serve your duty during the school year, the district pays for your sub and the days on jury duty are not counted against your sick leave.


Catastrophic Leave Bank - Have You Made Your Deposit?

What happens if you become so ill that you use up all of your sick leave? Well, under the contract in Article 10.17, catastrophic leave is defined as “. . . an illness or injury that is expected to incapacitate the employee for an extended period of time, requires the employee to take time off from work for an extended period of time and taking extended time off work creates a financial hardship for the employee because he or she has exhausted all of his or her sick leave and other paid time off."  “Paid time off” would include regular sick leave, extended sick leave (differential) [see 10.2.10], and industrial accident leave.


What do you do then? If you have deposited into the district Sick Leave Bank, you may use sick leave also donated by others, subject to certain restrictions as laid out in all of Article 10.17. You can find out by looking at the contract how to contribute and what the restrictions are.

Don’t wait until it is too late!  Donate now, if you meet the requirements. You will feel like you have some insurance against a catastrophe, and you will be helping your fellow employees in need.


NEA Representative Assembly Applications

The NEA Representative Assembly is the largest annual democratic convention in the United States.  This year it will be held in Orlando, FL from June 30-July 7.  If you would like to be part of California’s CTA delegation you can obtain the candidacy form from the back of your California Educator (Dec or Jan issues) or NEA Today, or you can find the form online at

This is a big commitment of your time, but it is exciting to participate and represent our members’ interests.  If you are interested in being elected as a delegate, the form must be turned in no later than 5:00 p.m. on January 30, to the CTA Orange Service Center, 281 N. Rampart, Ste. A, Orange, CA 92688 (you can reach that office by phone at 714.978.8861. If you are elected, CTA and CUEA will defray your costs.



State Budget And CUSD

Governor Brown just signed into law the state budget for 2014/15. Below are brief highlights of the budget for school funding.

School District Reserves - The 2014-2015 State Budget includes language that would limit the amount of reserves that school districts statewide would be legally allowed to retain in their local budgets. Passage of this legislation assists us as classroom professionals who advocate for students to be certain that adequate resources will be provided to students and classrooms.

CalSTRS Unfunded Liability – The budget provides a multi-year plan of shared responsibility among the state, school districts and educators to resolve the CalSTRS unfunded liability and provide 100% funding within 32 years. The first year’s increased contributions from all three entities are fairly modest, but escalate further over 3 or 7 years.

Rainy Day Fund– The budget continues the Governor’s proposal for a constitutional amendment for the 2014 ballot to strengthen the existing state budget Rainy Day Fund. This ballot initiative will appear on the November 2014 ballot.



General Elections for CUEA Officers will be held in mid-May. Declaration of Candidacy forms for the following CUEA offices:

  • President;
  • Treasurer,
  • High School, Middle School and Elementary Reps-at-large

are due to the CUEA Office by 4:30 pm on Wednesday, April 23.

Yellow Declaration of Candidacy forms should have been distributed to all CUEA members’ mailboxes.




Elementary Partnership Workshop
Wednesday, January 22, 3:00 p.m.
CUEA Office

Transfer Workshop
Thursday, January 23, 4:00 p.m.
CUEA Office

Maternity Leave Workshop
Wednesday, February 12, 4:00 p.m.
CUEA Office

Call or email at the CUEA for your reservation - 949-900-2280



Bridging to Common Core

Expected to teach to the Common Core English/Language Arts Literary Standards, but have no materials? No worries! As a result of an on-going national project, classroom teachers along with experts in the field, have developed lessons for selected stories in the K-5 Open Court reading series; the 6-8 Prentice Hall (Timeless Voices) English anthologies, and a few lessons of the McDougall Littell "Language of Literature" anthologies. All lessons, available on Edmodo, provide text-dependent questions, vocabulary development, and writing tasks that are carefully aligned to the Common Core.

To access lessons follow these directions:

1. Log onto to EdModo. (it is easy to join, go to

2. Find "Groups on left-hand panel;click on the encircled + found next the word "Groups and a window will open, click on Join.

3. Join will take you to "Join Group"

Elementary use this Group Code: F4Q6NM (all caps)
Secondary use this Group Code: pkx4sp (all small case)

4. Once you have joined the group, go to folders.

5. Lessons are found in the folders listed by publisher

Elementary: find MH Open Court
Middle School: find PH Timeless Voices (last folder of the list)
High School: find ML Language of Literature





District Wants Your Input!

In order to prepare students for the type of questions they will encounter on the Smarter Balanced Assessments in the spring of 2015, CUSD is looking to purchase test item banks for teacher use. There are two companies from which to choose. Michelle Benham provided a quick overview at the CUEA office last June, but would like to include more participants in the decision-making process. Thus there will be 3 more opportunities for teachers to review the offerings from both companies. Sign up on the CUSD staff development website using the appropriate course number listed below.

Thursday, August 29 1-3 pm CUEA Office (Course ID: WS808)

Wednesday, Sept. 4 1-3 pm CUSD Board Room (Course ID: WS809)

Thursday, Sept. 12 3-5 pm CUEA Office (Course ID: WS810)

Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptops or tablets so to log into the demo accounts for both companies.





CUSD Standards and Units

Here are the CUSD District links to units that have been developed for Common Core standards.

Elementary Units

Middle School Units

High School Units




NEA Master Teacher Project

The National Education Association (NEA) is partnering with BetterLessons to provide members with Common Core aligned courses and instructional strategies through the NEA Master Teacher Project (NEA MTP). Learn morehere.

The NEA MTP will be working with the best teachers in the country to document and share what makes them so effective. The master teachers will share both the "how (instructional strategies and classroom management procedures) and the "what (complete lessons, units, and courses) behind their successful teaching.

"The best ideas for the classroom come from classroom teachers, says NEA program director Bill Raabe. "We want to build a free, open body of knowledge around effective curriculum and instruction for teachers, by teachers.





State Budget And CUSD

As you may be aware, the CUSD budget for the upcoming school year is wholly dependent upon state funding. Governor Brown presented his proposed budget in January, and then again in the month of May. Although the proposed funding for CUSD as presented in January is more than we have seen in many years, there was hope that it would even be better with the May Revise. Unfortunately that was not the case, in fact, the Governor added an unexpected expenditure to the CUSD budget with an increase to the district's CalSTRS contribution for certificated employees. Before CUSD knows how much funding it will receive for 2014/15, the California State Legislature will respond to the Governors budget proposal. They will need to finish their work by June 15, and because the fiscal year begins on July 1, the governor has two weeks to sign a budget for 2014/15. The first bargaining date for the CUEA and CUSD Negotiation Teams is scheduled for June 12.


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CalSTRS Reminders For
Potential Retirees

Now, there are two great reasons to contact your California Casualty Auto and Home Insurance Program today: 

OR CALL (877)999-8927 TO COMPARE



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Scholarship Opportunities for
CTA Members

CUEA Scholarships Now Available
Applications for graduating high school seniors of CUEA members are now available from the CUEA office.

The parent or guardian of the applicant must be a teacher, speech pathologist, nurse, psychologist or counselor employed in CUSD and a current member of CUEA.

The student must be a graduating senior with an overall GPA of 3.2 or better.

The student must be planning to attend college.

Applications are due Monday, March 12, 2012 of each year.

Application Fill-In Form (MS Word)
Application Fill-In Form (pdf)

Contact Julie Gallups the CUEA office by or phone at 949-900-2280 for more information.


CTA Scholarship for Members
Scholarship Amount : $3,000 for up to five members statewide
Eligibility: CTA members working on a credential, degree or graduate program
Requirements : CUEA/CTA membership
Deadline Postmark: February 3, 2012


CTA Scholarship for Dependent Children of CTA Members
Scholarship Amount:
$5,000 for up to twenty-five dependent children of members statewide
Eligibility: Graduating high school seniors; undergraduate or graduate students claimed as a dependent on members' IRS tax forms; dependent child or action, retired or deceased CTA member
Requirements : CUEA/CTA membership
Deadline: February 3, 2012


Del Weber Scholarship for Dependent Children Attending Continuation High School or Alternative Education Programs
Scholarship Amount: $5,000 for one dependent child of a member statewide
Eligibility: Graduating high school senior who is claimed as dependent status on members' IRS tax form; may be a dependent child of an active, retired-life or deceased member.
Requirements: Parent of dependent child must be a CUEA/CTA member
Deadline: February 3, 2012.


For any of these applications go to the CTA website at or contact Julie Gallups at the CUEA office by or phone at 949-900-2280.

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CalSTRS Reminders For
Potential Retirees

If you have called CalSTRS and left your name and phone number, DO NOT CALL AGAIN.  Due to the high volume of calls, they cannot return your phone call immediately, but they will get back to you! Additionally, DO NOT sign up for both an individual and a Group Counseling workshop – they are the same thing.  At the group workshop, you will receive a customized packet of information just as you would at the individual conference. Check out the CalSTRS website here  for information about telephone conferences.



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Maternity Leave Informational Workshop

Monday, February 25
4:00-5:00 p.m.
at the CUEA Office

27422 Aliso Creek Road, Suite 100
Aliso Viejo 92656

An informational workshop for teachers
interested in learning more about
maternity sick-leave.

Please RSVP:

Click here for printed Flyer

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CUEA Scholarship Winners Announced!

Congratulations to the following high school seniors
for receiving a 2014 CUEA Scholarship:

Chelsea BlairDana Hills HighTammy Blair
Austin BoelmanTesoro HighTami Boelman
Brooke BorgesLaguna Beach HighEsther Borges
Mariah CurranDana Hills HighLaurie Curran
Dylan GoodeSan Clemente HighKimberly Goode
Nathan GroothuisAliso Niguel HighMark Groothuis
Mary HooverTesoro HighLisa Hoover
Colin JindraTesoro HighKimberly Goode
Kyra LaubachSan Clemente HighLynelle Laubach
Liam O'DonovanCapistrano Valley HiPamela O'Donovan
Molly PetersonTrabuco Hills HighJennifer Peterson
Anna ReiserAliso Niguel HighHeidi Reiser
Nicholas RobbinsMission Viejo HighValerie Robbins
Sarah ShalerCapistrano Valley HiBarbi Shaler
Clarissa SmathersTesoro HighRoxanne Smathers
Sidney SmiggsMission Viejo HighDonna Smiggs
Corey StephensDana Hills HighJim Stephens
Rebecca SweettEl Toro HighPatricia Budig
Gunnar WashingtonAliso Niguel HighMelissa Washington
Nicholas WelterSan Juan Hills HighTracy Welter